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Alabama 514 articles

Georgia company pays $3 million for sickening BP oil spill workers with ammonia release

BP oil spill litigation

Georgia-based Millard Refrigerated Services has agreed to pay the U.S. $3 million to resolve allegations that it released thousands of pounds of potentially deadly anhydrous ammonia from one of its warehouses, sickening 152 people in Alabama who were cleaning up BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The U.S. Justice Department said that the company had failed to take adequate measures to prevent its ammonia production systems in Theodore, Ala., from hydraulic shock, which can cause “catastrophic failures” in the specialized equipment. As a result, on Aug. 23, 2010, the equipment released 32,000 pounds of the noxious gas into the air, where it traveled ... Read More

Plaintiffs gear up for Tylenol liver damage lawsuit


Plaintiffs suing Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary McNeil-PPC Inc. in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) claiming the companies’ popular over-the-counter painkiller Tylenol caused liver damage, filed a motion to stop the defendants from testifying that their own family members have taken the medicine. The plaintiffs steering committee (PSC) argued that allowing such testimony would only prejudice juries. Plaintiffs cited a March 2014 ruling in a different lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson involving the OTC painkiller Motrin and the risk of a life-threatening allergic reaction known as Stevens Johnson Syndrome. In that case, a Louisiana federal court granted a plaintiff’s request ... Read More

Listeria contamination confirmed in first Alabama-made Blue Bell ice cream sample

Recall - blue bell ice cream cups

The potentially deadly strain of listeria bacteria linked to Blue Bell ice cream products has been found in a sample produced in the company’s Sylacauga, Ala., plant. It is the first evidence that Listeria contamination was not limited to the Texas and Oklahoma Blue Bell plants. The family of a Florida man recovering in the hospital from a suspected bout of meningitis sent a half gallon of Blue Bell Cookies ‘n’ Cream ice cream to Kappa Laboratories in Miami for testing “on a whim” after hearing about the multistate Listeria outbreak, which has been blamed for 10 confirmed illnesses, three of ... Read More

Blue Bell, Alabama regulators agree on ice cream factory overhaul

Recall - blue bell ice cream cups

Blue Bell Creameries has reached a voluntary agreement with the Alabama Department of Health to overhaul its ice cream production and testing processes at its temporarily shuttered Sylacauga plant in the wake of a deadly Listeria outbreak traced to its products. The Brenham, Texas-based company had already reached similar agreements in May with health officials in Texas, where it operates two Brenham plants, and Oklahoma, where it operates a plant in Broken Arrow. All four of its facilities are currently closed. The agreement with Alabama regulators requires Blue Bell to take a series of measures before its products can be ... Read More

Memorial Day Weekend: how to have a safe time on land and water

iStock_000001869074Small - swimming pool

With Memorial Day weekend around the corner, families must take precaution concerning the many dangers lurking through the unofficial beginning of summer. From traveling in boats and cars to grilling out in the sun, sometimes the least conspicuous activities can have the most devastating consequences. Here are some safety tips to help keep you and your family safe this summer. Driving From May 18 through May 31, law enforcement agencies will be taking a firmer stance on the “Click it or Ticket” policy. In 2013, only 87 percent of all U.S. motorists wore a seat belt while operating their vehicle. Nearly half of ... Read More

Alabama nurse’s Facebook selfie shows scabs of skin cancer treatment

skin cancer - Tawny Willoughby - Facebook

An Alabama woman’s Facebook selfie showing her severely scabbed face after skin cancer treatment,  which is serving as a warning to others about the hazards of tanning and skin cancer, has gone viral. “If anyone needs a little motivation to not lay in the tanning bed and sun here ya go! This is what skin cancer treatment can look like.” Willoughby wrote in her Facebook post. Tawny Willoughby, 27, who is a registered nurse, says she spent much of her teen years perfecting her tan lying in the sun and in tanning beds as much as four to five times a ... Read More

Blue Bell knew it had listeria problems, FDA documents show

Recall - blue bell ice cream cups

Listeria bacteria was a problem in Blue Bell’s Oklahoma plant as early as March 2013 but the ice cream producer failed to take adequate measures to sanitize its factory, a federal investigation conducted in March and April concluded. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the investigation results after filing a Freedom of Information request. Those documents show the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found violations in all three of Blue Bell’s facilities, but the most extensive violations were found in its Broken Arrow, Okla., plant. According to the AP, the FDA documents reveal inspectors listed 17 separate tests on ... Read More

Blue Bell won’t resume making ice cream for several months

Recall - blue bell ice cream cups

Blue Bell Creameries said on its website that its ice cream won’t be back in stores for several months as the company cleans it three manufacturing facilities in the wake of a deadly listeria outbreak and develops a plan for its ice cream products to return to production. “Unfortunately, we do not yet have a firm timeline for when Blue Bell Ice Cream will be back in stores, but we believe at this time that it will be several months at a minimum,” said Blue Bell CEO and President Paul Kruse. “We are evaluating all of our operations in light ... Read More

Renosol factory whistleblowers turn spotlight on workplace safety regulations


Selma, Ala., Hyundai supplier Renosol Seating said employees who say or do things it deems harmful to its business may be fired, despite an April 15 federal court order barring the company from retaliating against whistleblowers who voice concerns over their exposure to chemicals that may be making them sick. “If they go so far as to violate company policy and say and do things that are harmful to the company, then yes, they could be terminated,” Mel Stephens, a spokesman for Renosol’s parent company, Lear Corp., told the Montgomery Advertiser. “They are free to express themselves up until they ... Read More

Meltons honored for courage in pursuing justice for victims of GM ignition switch defect

Ken and Beth Melton, Lance Cooper

On April 30, the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association (GTLA) honored Ken and Beth Melton, the couple whose daughter’s death led to the recall of millions of General Motors (GM) vehicles, with the Courageous Pursuit of Justice Award. The Meltons’ investigation of their daughter’s car crash revealed an ignition switch defect that caused her 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt to slip out of the “on” position, forcing her to run into another vehicle. The GM ignition switch defect turned out to be a widespread problem that the automaker was aware of and hid for more than a decade. In 2013, the Meltons sued GM over ... Read More